Georgia Launches Vaccine Awareness Campaign for Teenagers

Students entering 7th grade and new entrants into 8th - 12th grades need proof of Tdap and MenACWY vaccinations

Atlanta Georgia

Nobody really likes getting vaccines, but in Georgia, they are saying ‘a shot lasts a second; diseases last much longer.’

In an effort to enhance the health of all teenagers, the Georgia Department of Public Health established ‘Georgia Preteen Vaccine Awareness Week.’

This innovative awareness campaign serves as a reminder for parents to talk with their preteens and teens about getting immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles and human papillomavirus (HPV).

“Preteens are at an age where they are becoming more independent and social,” said Sheila Lovett, director for the Georgia Department of Public Health Immunization Program. 

“Students spend more time out with friends playing sports and attending parties. While this is a fun part of growing up, these activities could increase their risk of contracting potentially life-threatening diseases,” said Lovett.

According to National Immunization Survey (NIS) Teen data for Georgia vaccination coverage levels for 13-17-year-olds during 2015 are as follows:

  • 95.5 percent for two or more doses of MMR,
  • 93.5 percent for two or more doses of Varicella vaccine,
  • 90.2 percent for one or more doses of Tdap,
  • 87.0 percent for one or more doses of MenACWY,
  • 54.4 percent for one or more doses of HPV among females,
  • 32.3 percent for three or more doses of HPV among females,
  • 51.0 percent for one or more doses of HPV among males,
  • 27.5 percent for three or more doses of HPV among males

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health Rule (511-2-2), all students born on or after January 1, 2002, entering seventh grade and any “new entrant” into eighth -12th grades in Georgia need proof of an adolescent pertussis (whooping cough) booster vaccination (called “Tdap”) and an adolescent meningococcal vaccination (MenACWY).

This law affects all public and private schools including, but not limited to, charter schools, community schools, juvenile court schools and other alternative school settings, excluding homeschool.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommends the following vaccines for preteens and teens:

  • Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis (Tdap)
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Meningococcal Disease (MenACWY)

The CDC Vaccine Price List provides the private sector vaccine prices for general information, and vaccine discounts can be found here.

Most pediatricians and pharmacies offer vaccines.

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects, says the CDC. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.

Georgia contact information: [email protected]